Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Big Bubble Space Station

Blow a big bubble of plastic, add more in layers.
(+3, -3)
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Get the bubble spinning to get a nice oval elevation going. Add layer after layer of plastic and go ahead and keep the expansion gas between the layers to have a cumulative insulation effect.

After it's a few miles wide and a foot or two thick, put your farms and living quarters around the perimeter. You'd need to structurally secure those to a central hub with cables or something so as not to stress the bubble, but you'd get a clear enclosure several acres wide that would be functional and probably pretty nice looking as well.

doctorremulac3, Apr 02 2024

Bubbles, kinda. https://youtu.be/kO...si=k1_pCMFu8hebBFnT
Airship to Orbit project. [minoradjustments, Apr 05 2024]

Prior art, of sorts ... Low_20budget_20spacecraft
[normzone, Apr 07 2024]

What's in this stuff? It's amazing! http://paverpolworld.com/
Cost is prohibitive, so, perfect for the space program [Sgt Teacup, Apr 07 2024]


pocmloc, Apr 03 2024

       A bubble of what plastic that's cheap enough in space? Add in UV degradation from unshielded sun.
bs0u0155, Apr 03 2024

       The bubble is a great idea. Rather, a somewhat flexible volume that is light, airtight, and easily deployable. The problem is getting torn apart by a spin strong enough to hold dirt and cornfields against the inside and how you balance that very energetic motion in a non-rigid volume. Ends up long and thin: Oumuamua? (sic) No corn.   

       Managing the bubbles for life support, propulsion, quarters, and shops and labs, all at close to 1G is very dicey. Make them rigid where they need to be?
minoradjustments, Apr 03 2024

       Pretty sure that plastics don't like extreme cold, so keeping it warm somehow is a must.   

       Suddenly I'm hungry for marshmallows...
RayfordSteele, Apr 04 2024

       //UV degradation from unshielded sun//   

       Yup; UV kills plastics pretty fast here in AU (wooden clothes pegs are advised, for example - plastic ones keep snapping).   

       You might need a special kind of plastic; anyone want to weigh in on the materials science?
pertinax, Apr 04 2024

       I assumed a space station that was not necessarily in orbit around earth or where UV could degrade it. This balloon structure only needs to be flexible when it is originally deployed and pressurized. Flexibility is a great danger afterward.   

       If it hardens later, good. In long journeys within the solar system it can be rotated to even out the UV. (Heavy duty HVAC running all the time in the solar system.) For a long trip in a self-supporting living structure this big it would need its own power source, its "sun." All possible, but not right now.   

       Consider that you can only spin the sphere/bubble along one axis; any gravitational effects from centrifugal force are confined to a circular band on the inside of the sphere, falling off as you head toward the north or south 'poles.' There's no effect except dizziness at the poles.   

       Start with a ring and widen over time, as the project proves itself. You end up with Rama.
minoradjustments, Apr 04 2024

       Thank you for understanding this minoradjustments. Yes, some work would need to be done to get the correct plastic to do this, but that's what half-baked is all about.
doctorremulac3, Apr 04 2024

       I like big bubbles and I cannot lie.
Other astronauts just can't deny That when it whirls on by just an itty bitty place, but a round thing out in space, you get sprung...

       UV resistance with conventional carbon based polymers is doomed to fail. All current strategies revolve around shielding and or sacrificial substances. Examples include melanin & vitamin c. But they're active defenses. Much better to learn from life (a collection of long carbon polymers with salty water) that's been around for a while. Water is a good start. It's good at absorbing UV, but UV isn't powerful enough to split H2O. So a little water is a great permanent filter. Snails, crabs etc. Organisms that have been successful for as long as anything has been moving, calcium carbonate shell: rock. Rock is UV-proof, otherwise it wouldn't be there for 1 billion years.   

       Space is (relatively) full of ice and rock. Maybe go with that.
bs0u0155, Apr 05 2024

       That’s above my pay grade, I’ll do the structural if we can get the right substance. Maybe a glass mined from asteroids. Keep it hot enough you can blow bubbles with glass too.
doctorremulac3, Apr 05 2024

       That works. I think ice is the way to go though. Humans have a LOT of experience with ice/water. We're possibly galactic champions at ice manipulation.
bs0u0155, Apr 05 2024

       I vaguely remember a science fiction author proposing taking an asteroid, spinning it, melting it (I guess with lots of mirrors to concentrate sunlight), then blowing gas inside until it expanded to a suitable size before letting it cool.
Loris, Apr 05 2024

       [Doc] Here are balloons, but trapped in a lifting body, with propulsion! (link)
minoradjustments, Apr 05 2024

       Whoa! This guy's having too much fun! I want to build experimental space launch vehicles!   

       I have lots of questions about the design but first I'd give this guy major kudos for creativity. To think of the idea of a hypersonic space balloon is enough to give this guy the trophy for Biggest Balls.   

       The cool thing about crazy ideas like this is the possibility of unforeseen advances in trying to get new technologies to work. He's talking about moving a lot of electricity through a lot of conductors and conductors can get kind of heavy. But maybe in the quest to get this thing flying he can make some breakthroughs that have lots of other applications.   

       I like this guy. Totally crazy, but who knows? One day we all look up and see a V the width of Manhattan streaking overhead and say "Huh, maybe not so crazy after all."
doctorremulac3, Apr 05 2024

       This looks like a job for... Paverpol™ !   

       Superman* loves this stuff. Fiendishly clever: slow to harden, UV-proof when dry, it definitely is probably not made using Kryptonite.   

       *A frequent flyer at Camp Teacup, Superman often helps with household, farm and workshop projects. We are not sure if he's 'the' Superman, but we don't look a gift horse in the mouth, as they say.
Sgt Teacup, Apr 07 2024


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